A Beatitudes Hymn

All six regular readers of this blog will know that I attempt at least one new hymn every year as the verse for my Christmas card.

I’m under no illusions that they will endure.  I love words and enjoy crafting them in different ways.  The satisfaction is as much in the writing as in the singing.

The text I have spent the most time with this year is Matthew 5.1-10: the beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount.  I’ve recently asked every community in the Diocese of Oxford to spend some time dwelling in this text and exploring what it means as we seek to be a more contemplative, more compassionate and more courageous church.

A hymn is one way of dwelling in the text.  Each half verse takes one beatitude as its theme.  It’s not a translation of the words but a reflection on them and especially on the idea that the beatitudes offer us a self-portrait of Christ.

I’m not a musician so always write to a particular and well known tune.  The tune this year is Blaenwern, best known as the setting for Charles Wesley’s magnificent hymn, Love Divine.  Hum it to yourself as you read the words.

You’re welcome to reproduce the hymn and use it if it’s helpful.  Let me know how it goes.

Our new three session course for small groups on the beatitudes can be ordered here.

Gracious Lord, our hands are empty

Beggars seeking life and grace

Graft our lives into your own life

Gift your Spirit in this place

Hearts of stone we lift for blessing

Hearts of flesh we seek anew

Help our eyes see with compassion

Comforter, our joy renew

 

Servant Lord, you came in meekness

Stooping low to show our worth

Banish pride, restore love’s sweetness

Help us heal your wounded earth

Give us hunger for your kingdom

Thirst to see your ways prevail

Satisfy our hope for justice

Make us lights which will not fail

 

Living Lord, your name is mercy,

Love made flesh in life and word

Kindness shown to the unworthy

Grace which can be touched and heard

Pure in heart, you offer wholeness

Open eyes that cannot see

Win for all complete forgiveness

Come to set your people free

 

Son of God we seek your healing

Over this fragmented globe

Mend our lives, our homes, our nations

Making peace, one seamless robe

Help your church to be courageous

Joined in your eternal search

For the lost, the least, the helpless

Make us more a Christ like Church

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